Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Napkin Scrawl #30 -- Missing You

The clock reads midnight. The only sound in this peaceful night is the constant beating of the fan overhead as it keeps the room cool from the sweltering heat. I lay awake staring at the ceiling, waiting for sleep to overtake me. But, it cannot. My mind is full and races with thoughts of my day, thoughts of family, and thoughts of you.

Your hand reaches across to me as if you know my thoughts. My skin prickles as your hand gently caresses me. The spinning in my mind comes to a halt as I turn to look at you. Your eyes are closed as if you have succumbed to sleep, yet your body finds mine as you get close to me. Your arm wraps around me. Your leg fits snugly between mine. Your head finds a soft, comfortable spot above my breast to rest. The scent of your hair taunts my nose with its beautiful aroma. My hand finds your hair and begins stroking as if conjured to do so. The softness of your hair is like a talisman to me, calming me with each stroke. Upon taking one last, cleansing deep breath, my eyes grow heavy as my hand finds its rhythm.

Moments later, my bed begins to shake and bounce. I open my eyes to find my arms wrapped around my pillow, and my body curled up, snuggling it tightly. I let out a sigh as I realize you are only a dream. Two thoughts cross my mind. First is, how much I miss you, and the other, how fast can I fall back to sleep so I can see you, hold you, and feel you again.

Missing you…

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fanning the Flames

Have you ever just sat staring at your computer screen, wondering, what shall I write? You tap your fingers on the keyboard as if warming them up to run a marathon, yet nothing happens. Your hands begin to wonder if they are plugged into your brain. You flex your fingers, crack your knuckles and enter a transitory state, with eyes glazed as your brain begins to filter through all the various subjects that pique your curiosity. A vampire, werewolves, fairies, witches, magic, dragons, hmmm… all just words and no story to support them.

As you stare into the backlit screen of your laptop, hoping that something… anything would pop into your mind to become a story, you realize you’ve been preoccupied with reality. You’ve not taken the time to travel to the depths of your mind. You’ve not fantasized, dreamed, or even wished upon a star. Reality kicks butt! Yet deep within, the furnace needs stoking. Peeking inside is one smoldering coal. It slowly exhausts the fuel it once had. Around the edges of that coal are the fire retardant remnants of reality pressing in to snuff out the vibrant glow and fierce heat that it once inspired.

Sadness, even pity takes hold as you realize you’ve neglected the one unique feature of yourself… your imagination. You open the furnace grate and begin to fan the heat and glow of that one ember of coal. You watch as the glow brightens and sparks start to fly. But, all this fanning will quench the ember in due time unless fuel is added for the ember’s appetite. “I must feed my sole ember.” So, you pull a thought from your own mind as if it is a beautiful strand of twisted fiber that you hope is weaved into a bigger story. Perhaps then, something might unravel and feed that lone ember in the belly of your fertile imagination.

At first, words become kindling. Like thin pieces of wood, you throw words atop the glowing cinder, feeding that once anemic appetite. Soon, a spark lights a fire the words you’ve begun to weave. Gently you breathe life into the small flame. You add more and soon your words become sentences, which then begin a thought, and finally, you have written a creative exercise that flexes the anemic burn from deep within.

Your creativity begins to flex and glow, burning hotter, glowing brighter, and growing larger. You realize how lucky you were to find that one ember of coal to build upon. Never again will you neglect your own creativity, the one thing that makes you feel alive. Maintaining the fire within requires input and output. The fire must breathe and be fed. It must consume before it can give anything.

Not everything you feed your imagination has to be worthy of readers. However, like any other muscle in your physical body, your imagination needs a workout too. Stay practiced. Stay sharp. As you do, you will find that the seeds sown in your fertile imagination will create a magnificent masterpiece.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Angels in Our Lives - A Memorial of a Wonderful Woman

Do you believe in Angels? I do. I believe Angels cross our paths every day to help us, and sometimes they guide us. Sometimes they are with us for a day, a week, or longer.

As a young child, my parents moved into a middle-income neighborhood that brushed on a low-income neighborhood. From a child’s perspective, it was a rough neighborhood. Growing up with troubled kids, troubled families, was really tough. That is not to say that we were in the toughest neighborhood, no there were worse.

On the street that we moved to, there was one woman who became that Angel in our lives. She lived in the middle of the block, had five kids of her own, but every kid around our neighborhood knew her.

One day shortly after we moved to Ventura, California, one of her daughters came over to befriend me. She invited us to church…a church that was not like what I not accustomed. My brother and I went with her family and it changed our lives.

Margaret Gage, known to me as Mrs. Gage, took all five of her kids plus my brother and me to a church where we decided to follow Jesus. In the years that followed, Mrs. Gage babysat us, and then later just kept a close eye on us.

Through the years, she and my mother became very close, as Mrs. Gage guided my mother to Christ as well.

Every time I visited her, she ALWAYS had open arms, hugging me until there was no room to suck in my breath. I remember once I stopped by to visit and she had asked me to call her by her first name. I told her that she would always be Mrs. Gage to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to use her first name, it was that to me, I respected her, cherished her, and by calling her Mrs. Gage, it reminded me of how much I did love and respected her.

Today, my mother called completely broken and crying. Through her sobs, she informed me that Mrs. Gage had passed away on March 17, 2011. I believe she was 79 years old.

Mrs. Gage was an Angel in my life. She admonished, protected, and guided me. So, you will understand when I say; I don’t believe she passed away, I believe she was called home by our Lord. Her time here on earth was finished.

Margaret Gage touched many lives while she visited this earth. Thank you, Mrs. Gage, for touching mine.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Napkin Scrawl #29 - Terrors of a Captive

Immense terror resides in my mind as I stand in a dark, dank, dirty kitchen. Cupboard doors are filthy, and some doors have dried on melted vanilla colored ice cream slung across them. The sink is stuffed full of dirty dishes with murky cold water. The counter tops are Formica, reminiscent of the 50’s and 60’s and they are filthy, covered with grease and dirt. It is amazing that there are no cockroaches in sight, but that could be because I occupy the same space. One incandescent light bulb illuminates the area just enough to see the grunge dimly.

Master has set a chair out for me to climb. His task for me is to scrub down the cupboard doors that don the dried-on sticky mess of vanilla colored ice cream. My stomach turns at the look and smell of this room. Master hands me a dirty, grungy cloth, dampened with cold water. “Get to it!” Master growls to me. “Get that shit off the doors!” I nod, affirming his command. Speaking is not allowed without permission.

Climbing the chair to the countertop, I reach the doors that I must clean. Laying cloth to a door, I begin to scrub circles to the area. Apparently, Master got angry one night when he was served melted ice cream. Outraged, he threw his bowl across the kitchen. I can only assume Master beat the one who served him.

In the background, I hear the whimpering and crying of another. Perhaps that one caused this mess. Knowing what I know of Master, I had better clean this mess perfectly, or I will be tortured for failing. I have been here too long and have learned from experience what to expect if I fail. When one fails Master, he tortures in different ways. Master tied up this offender by all fours and gagged them for silence. Master likes his riding crop most of all. I shudder at the thought.

My thoughts continue as I scrub this door. I cannot remember the day Master brought me to this place. I am one of the older women. It is now my job to train the new ones who arrive at this place. All are terrified of Master. If only they would give in to him, their lives would be simpler, easier. Not everyone likes captivity. I know I do not. However, I have watched as others attempt escape. Only those who have died achieve escape. Poor bastards.

My thoughts flash to my children. I have two. They must miss me. Do they remember who I am? Have I been gone too long? Without thinking, I speak out of turn, “Master, may I speak?” My hand reaches for my mouth as if to reel the words back in and my heart jolts in my chest as I meet his eyes with my question. Fear grips as my mind spins in terror. Panic sets in as I realize I have spoken out of turn. Master prefers a more respectful and reverent means of requesting anything. I quickly descend from my lofty place on the counter to lower myself below him. Maybe that will keep Master from his anger. I hope.

Kneeling before him, I beg forgiveness for my insolence and steel myself for the back of his hand. Nothing comes. No sound, no pain, nothing. I open my eyes to see Master staring back at me. Contemplation is in his face as he decides what he will do about my outburst. Will he hit me? Will he tie me up and whip my naked flesh? Or, will he allow my infraction? I bow myself lower, hoping it will sway his decision to forgive me and allow my speech.

The floor is filthy, and the stench is sickening. Master’s feet are at my head. But I press lower. Bile rises in the back of my throat, but I swallow, holding back the vomit that tries to emerge. I hear Master begin to laugh, not a happy cheerful laugh, but an evil maniacal laugh. It threatens me and promises punishment. He knows he has power over me and this pleases him. His laugh brings hatred to the surface, yet I bite my tongue and press the rage back down inside. “Not now.” I tell myself, “Not yet. The time is not right.”

“Very well, speak!” Master approves my request. My thoughts race through my head…I try to formulate my request. Without shifting my position, I speak into the floor because I know that I am not permitted to move, only to speak. I take a deep breath and speak.

“Master,” I begin. “Will I be allowed to see my children?” My heart races and my face flushes. I have decided to be straight to the point and not test his patience with frivolous banter. I listen for his answer, but I hear only his breath.

“No!” Master booms.

Without thought, my mouth speaks again. “Perhaps Master will allow me to call them to let them know I am safe…” I pause, “… in your care.” I hold my breath. Master’s feet shift and I brace myself for pain. His feet shift and move away. I am puzzled. Normally, this outburst would cause Master to become violent. Too many times, I have been bludgeoned or whipped for unwelcome questions. Today it serves him to answer me.

“No!” He denies my request again. “You will never see or speak to your children again! They will grow up believing you have died… or worse, left them.”

Tears well up and begin to fall from my eyes. I hold back the sobs as my heart wrenches in agony. Images of my children flash in my mind as tears fall.

Once again, hatred pushes sadness away. Tears stop falling because Master does not deserve them. My tears are mine and not his! I clench my teeth together, grinding my jaws tightly. Slowly and with a deadness in my voice, I speak one last time. “Yes, Master.”

“Get back to work,” he growls.

Quickly I jump to my feet and climb the counter to continue the work ordered of me. Never once do I meet with Master’s eyes. I fear he would see my seething hatred. I keep my eyes on the task. Anger speaks loudly in my head and Rage agrees wholeheartedly. I can take this no more.

After cleaning the cupboard, I am escorted to the room where we are held against our wills. My eyes still turned down, feigning humbleness. In the shadows, I see many others with my peripheral vision. All are scared. All look to me, the ‘eldest’ as their example. Pushed inside the room, I hear the click of the lock as the bolt to the door is turned. Locked in this room, no furniture to sit on, only dim lighting allows us to see our dismal circumstances. None of us understands why we are here, except we have Master to serve. Whispers from the others begin as Master walks from the doorway.

“What did you have to do?” asks one captive.

“Are you okay?” asks another.

“Did you find a way out?” blurts another.

“Shhh!” I mouth to them as I sit on the floor. Drawing me knees up to my chest I bury my head in my arms. I begin to sob, as I consider never seeing my children again.

The others shuffle and scoot closer to me to comfort me, realizing that something has happened. Once again, Anger and Rage take control of my thoughts. I begin to whisper to all around me. “How is it that we are many and he is but one? Why can we not over power him?” My mind begins to consider all the possibilities, all the past attempts toward freedom. I began to tear apart all the flaws of each past attempt.

The next day, Master brings me outside. We have our usual walk in the sunshine. I am not certain if it is a daily routine or not. However, after allowing Anger and Rage to work together on a plan to escape, I allow my senses to take in what is around me. I hear birds, feel the breeze, see the sunlight, smell the jasmine by the door, and feel the grass under my feet. I see trees, birds, squirrels, leaves, grass & flowers, all so very vivid and beautiful.

Sidetracked with all my senses, I had not realized that Master had stopped to lie on the grass. This seemed strange to me. I had never heard that he ever had done so before. As he lay there, on the grass, it occurred to me that I could overpower him now. I was above him and I could overpower him.

My mind began to construct then deconstruct everything around me. The act of overpowering him excited me. Before another thought went through my mind, I went down to him, embraced him as if to make love to him. He fell right in suit, following my lead. He smelled of pure evil, vile. Repulsed by his touch, Anger and Rage were in control. I took a back seat and watched as they used my arms, my body, and grabbed him around his neck. Squeezing him slowly at first, I felt his excitement. Then at the blink of an eye, my hands took his head and wrenched it around past the stopping point of his neck. He gasped one last breath as his neck cracked and gave way to my force. His body went limp in my arms, not one bit of struggle. Strange.

I let go of his head and watch as it falls to the ground. His face holds one last expression on his face…surprise.

Getting up, I turn to walk back to my room. Anger and Rage have left me numb and emotionless. There is no fear, no remorse, no happiness or cheering. My captivity has been so long, I just have nothing to feel for the freedom I have gained. I retrace my path along the grass, past the jasmine and through the door to the house. The end of my path ends where I first began. Reaching up I open the door to my room, all eyes stop on me. I smell fear is strong as I reenter the room. All notice that the door remains open. I inform the captives that Master is dead and I am responsible. They gasp in disbelief, yet hope I speak the truth.

The others rush through the door to see, to prove what I have said. All brush past me, knocking me like a pinball in a machine between them. I wake from my numb haze and follow. All form a circle around Master, staring down in disbelief when suddenly his head moves and unwinds from the twist I left for him. Shrieks and gasps as all step back, all but me. Without another thought, I slam my knee down on Master, grab his head and twist again. This time I turn full circle, knowing nothing can resurrect from such demise as this.

All look to me amazed and I say, “No one keeps me captive.”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Napking Scrawl #28 -- Battle Within

Helpless and alone, I sit here wishing you were here. My heart beats the hardest when you are on my mind. It reminds me of what once was and what could be. As if to tell me there is a void, my heart squeezes hard to remind me that you aren’t here and that yet again, I am alone.

“Be still my heart,” I direct my thoughts. “Try to see the bright side. With no one here to fill you, you can beat all the harder and with more freedom. You can show your independence!” As if my heart had a mind of its own … I shake my head in wonderment, knowing I can do nothing to fill the absence. My mind wanders, thinking of ways to busy itself and fill the gap within my soul.

Closing my eyes, I look deep within and I remember the last time we were together. Your touch, you scent, your kiss are all but a memory, first vivid, clear and tangible, then fading into a mist. Mentally, I reach out to touch you, but like smoke, you vanish. What happened? Where did you go? Why did you leave?

My heart reminds me of the love that it once had and shows me the flame still glowing deep within. Now it only flickers, small and not so brightly, but it still dances in my heart waiting to burn ablaze once again.

My mind begins to wonder, does your heart beat hard within you? Does it remind you of me? Do you feel a void? Do you need me as I need you? Perhaps not, I think. Perhaps I’m the needy one. Perhaps I’m the only one who feels a void.

If that is the case and it is only me, my heart cries out for you once more. Come back to me quickly, for there is a battle going on, where heart and mind battle within, trying to find the reason why there is this great emptiness. My heart craves your touch. It needs your kiss to rekindle the fire.

Both heart and mind agree on one thing. I love you.